Elyzabeth Holford has been named Oberlin’s director of entrepreneurship and began work October 20. As director, Holford will provide leadership and vision for the development of all entrepreneurship activities including LaunchU—which seeks to support and fund new student and alumni entrepreneurs—and the Creativity & Leadership program.
Her previous employment includes an array of experiences in social justice, education, and company development and organization. She has served as the executive director of Equality Ohio, a multi-issue LGBT advocacy group; the chief development officer for Neutral Net, Inc.; and held positions at the University of the Virgin Islands and Virginia Tech. She earned a bachelor’s in political science from Indiana University, a law degree from the College of Law at the University of Dayton, and a master’s from the College of Education at the Ohio State University.
Holford will be in charge of developing and implementing focused programming for LaunchU, including the annual pitch competition. Gene Carr, chair of the LaunchU advisory committee, looks forward to Holford’s arrival. "LaunchU itself is a startup, and we were seeking someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, a track record of success, and a keen understanding of how to work effectively with faculty and students within an academic setting. Elyzabeth combines all these qualities and more, and we can't wait to have her get started."
Associate Professor of Politics Eve Sandberg, who has been actively involved in Creativity & Leadership since its inception, also looks forward to Holford’s arrival. “Oberlin’s Creativity & Leadership program helps our students launch their new ventures in the for-profit world or for social justice work. Elyzabeth Holford is the ideal leader to take Creativity & Leadership to the next level. She will be able to draw upon her rich personal experience in both the startup world of for-profits and her work in nonprofits. Holford’s outreach talents and organizational abilities make her the ideal person to task with reaching Creativity & Leadership’s students, faculty, alumni, and friends in order to guide and support them in improving their performance and programs.”
Holford says Oberlin has always been a place where creativity and leadership thrive, and she looks forward to joining the community. “I am honored to be a part of this unique Oberlin program that underscores the value of education with an impact. We will continue to provide unique opportunities for both the campus and our extended Oberlin community to imagine and create change.”
LaunchU is a singular platform for launching, advising, and investing in a full spectrum of startup ventures. Established in 2012 as a partnership between Oberlin College and its alumni, LaunchU complements Oberlin’s signature Creativity & Leadership program. LaunchU provides resources, training, coaches, connections, and investment capital of all types—intellectual, technological, financial, philanthropic, and relationship-focused—to help start, accelerate, and grow student and alumni ventures. Please visit Oberlin.edu for more information.
About Creativity & Leadership
Creativity & Leadership is an on-campus program that drives students to put their innovative ideas into practice. The program draws on the synergy between the liberal arts and pre- professional training in music, and is open to students of all majors, from first-years to seniors. The program offers financial support on a competitive basis for students to move their ideas from concept toward implementation, and coordinates curricular and co-curricular opportunities to prepare students for the challenges of developing and implementing those ideas. Please visit (www.oberlin.edu/creativity) for more information.
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